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Advantages & Disadvantages of Biological Control

Can biological control really help get rid of those pesky pests?
Can biological control really help get rid of those pesky pests? | Source

Whether they be insects, weeds, or otherwise, pests are annoying. Even more than that, they can devastate the world's ecosystems and agriculture by disrupting the fragile balance sustained by the natural diversity (or intended lack thereof) of organisms. So how do we control all these pests? Why, biologically of course! Biological control is the use of a pest's natural predators in controlling their populations in order to minimize their impact on economic and environmental practices. It's an alternative to pesticides and poisons that can offer a few distinct advantages, as well as disadvantages.

Advantages of Biological Control:

  1. Biological control is a very specific strategy. The vast majority of the time, whatever predator is introduced will only control the population of the pest they are meant to target, making it a green alternative to chemical or mechanical control methods. For example, whereas weed killing chemicals can also destroy fruit-bearing plants, biological control allows the fruit to be left uninterrupted while the weeds are destroyed.
  2. Natural enemies introduced to the environment are capable of sustaining themselves, often by reducing whatever pest population they are supposed to manage. This means that after the initial introduction, very little effort is required to keep the system running fluidly. It also means that biological control can be kept in place for a much longer time than other methods of pest control.
  3. Biological control can be cost effective in the long run. Although it may cost a bit to introduce a new species to an environment, it's a tactic that only needs to be applied once due to its self-perpetuating nature.
  4. Most important of all, it's effective. Whatever pest population you want controlled will no doubt be controlled. Because the predator introduced will be naturally inclined to target the pests, very often you'll see the pest population dwindle.

Disadvantages of Biological Control:

  1. Biological control can be fickle. Ultimately, you can't control whatever natural enemy you set loose in an ecosystem. While it's supposed to manage one pest, there is always the possibility that your predator will switch to a different target - they might decide eating your crops instead of the insects infesting them is a better plan! Not only that, but in introducing a new species to an environment, there runs the risk of disrupting the natural food chain.
  2. It's a slow process. It takes a lot of time and patience for the biological agents to work their magic on a pest population, whereas other methods like pesticides work provide immediate results. The upside to this is the long-term effect biological control provides.
  3. If you're looking to completely wipe out a pest, biological control is not the right choice. Predators can only survive if there is something to eat, so destroying their food population would risk their own safety. Therefore, they can only reduce the number of harmful pests.
  4. While it is cheap in the long run, the process of actually setting up a biological control system is a costly endeavor. A lot of planning an money goes into developing a successful system.

Let's Recap:

Pros
Cons
Specific to a particular pest
Can sometimes fail in its specificity
Self-sustaining system
It's a slow process
Cheap after startup
Expensive at startup
It works most of the time
Doesn't completely destroy a pest

In the end, it's up to the person with the pest problem to determine whether the advantages of biological control outweigh its disadvantages!

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Comments 19 comments

mwilliams66 profile image

mwilliams66 4 years ago from Left Coast, USA

As always Btryon, I found your article very interesting.

Voting up and interesting.


KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Huh, very informative and a good option for pest control. Well done, once again, Btyron!


shara63 profile image

shara63 4 years ago from Delhi

very informative hub.. an acceptable, safe solution to pest control and so an amazing way to maintain our ecosystem too!


Awesome Ashaarya 3 years ago

really good information... Tqvm. XD

AA


Megan Sharp 2 years ago

Your website was awesome! Pest busters!


Louis mce 2 years ago

Sick website


natsya 2 years ago

thank you for the information =)


Ivan 2 years ago

Nice one btryon.... Just got what I was looking for... Thanks


nelio 2 years ago

First time to visit your site, twas very informative! I found this article fair and comprehensive. Looking forward to reading other worthy articles . . . SALAMAT PO!!!


Ayraaaf_#11 15 months ago

very nice and interesting


famobio97 14 months ago

Very useful. Thumbs up.first timer though


ellis2112 9 months ago

This ways very helpful, and I am new to this site, Keep Up The Good Work!


KittyCatLover 8 months ago

Wow! The language used is simple and easy to understand. Besides that,the points are presented and elaborated well by paragraphs. Examples are also given. I found exactly what I searched for. I really like this article. Keep up the great work!


kirito 7 months ago

thx for helping

i really needed it


dickson 7 months ago

this helped alot thanks for the article :)


alonso.tan.581@facebook.com 5 months ago

Nice!!


in 2 months ago

thanks


bob 6 weeks ago

this is poo, not helpful at all:(


phill 5 weeks ago

beef me bobby boi

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